The Grand Ole Opry Should Invite Chely Wright Back, Say Activists
Support is growing among country music fans for a new petition on Change.org to get Chely Wright back to the Grand Ole Opry. Prior to coming out publicly in 2010, the award-winning country singer/songwriter performed on the famous stage regularly. She hasn't been invited back since.
"I was kind of an Opry darling. I'd be called to perform at least every 10 weeks, until my coming out. Since then, I've not heard a peep," Wright told People Magazine.
In the late '90s, Wright skyrocketed to the top of the Billboard charts with her hit song "Single White Female" and in 2001 was named one of People Magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People." In 2004, she had another huge hit with " Bumper of my SUV," a song about having pride in the U.S. Military. In the past three years she has had a new album, a book and a film that was part of the Nashville film festival. Yet, still she has not been asked back to sing at the Opry.
This prompted gay musician Dave Dilsizian to start a petition to get Wright back onto the stage of the Opry.
"Chely has worked very hard to establish herself in country music and I feel that just because she came out as a lesbian doesn't mean she can't be part of that community," Dilsizian told EDGE. "I read a few places that the Country Music industry doesn't feel an openly gay person will be accepted. However, by not inviting her to their events they aren't giving their listeners a chance to accept her."
Dilsizian said that he had gotten emails of support from country radio and fellow musicians in Nashville, adding that he believed there was more support for Wright than the industry may realized.
"I feel it is time for us to speak up and spread the word to show how much support she has in both the gay community and the country music audience," he added.
To sign the petition, click here.